Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), those who can be held liable for the costs of responding to a release or the threat of a release of hazardous substances are considered to be PRPs. PRPs are defined as:
- Current owners or operators of the facility or vessel;
- Former owners or operators of the facility or vessel, if they owned the property at the time of disposal;
- Those who arrange for treatment or disposal of hazardous substances at a facility (in most cases, the generators); and
- Transporters of hazardous substances who selected the disposal site.
CERCLA liability is retroactive, meaning that parties may be held liable for releases that occurred prior to the enactment of the statute in 1980. For more information about Superfund site cleanup liability, see the Compliance and Enforcement Web site.